Engaging your future leaders, for selling in tomorrows world

Embed from Getty Images

Developing a future leader sales development programme is essential for any professional services form today. Simply having a sales methodology isn’t enough. Providing tools and coaching across key accounts and proposals isn’t enough.

Sales programmes need to be in fun, yet modern, formats which engage debate and the sharing of issues and experiences from your most senior leaders, down to your most junior staff.

Benefits of having a future leader sales programme

  • Address the common challenges and inefficiency in your go to market approach so everyone knows whats working and how different people are successful in delivering it (in their own style).
  • Pull on your strengths consistently across the business, based on common client feedback themes so people know exactly what you do well and what you need to improve upon.
  • Build awareness of relationships and delivering client value so people can see how  to develop understanding and trust, so they can also challenge and innovate.
  • Bring your sales methodology and tools to life and encourage junior fee earners to get involved earlier in their careers.

How to navigate the market complexity for tomorrows sales environment

Considering key market drivers in order for your future leaders to progress, they MUST have a wide and strong network of client relationships, be organised on which accounts they focus on, know how to unlock value for each unique client, and have interesting topics to debate with clients.

Market disruption impacts long-held client-supplier relationships, opening the door to competitors who can quickly build new relationships, often before incumbent firms are able to organise themselves. But leveraging the right opportunities is getting harder. Speed to market with bright ideas needs focused and fast development to maximise first-mover advantage.

All firms are modernising digitally, so competitors are increasing and emerging from all over the globe. Providing differentiated solutions that speak to individual client motivations, objectives and situations in language they understand is at the forefront of winning in the market.

People typically work across several industries and employers during their career, meaning clients roam and need a bigger network of advisers for insight and delivery support. This means future leaders must be good at keeping in touch with their external peer networks if they are NOT currently billing them. Although new online social platforms enable them to initiate and hold conversations with clients sooner and more often, it can stop your future leaders from developing relationships in person – developing rapport and actively listening and probing.

Link sales training to career development and what client say

Your future leaders need an immersive sales development environment, not a classroom experience. They should be able to express frustrations and have myths busted. They should be able to problem solve and hear stories of what works for different people and clients themselves. Most of all they need SMART action plans to start developing their skills gaps, now.

All firms conduct interviews in order to promote their staff, and there will be common sales and relationship issues that stop people from progressing their careers. Being able to quickly home-grow more talent is essential, in order to respond to the market. Advisers who are able to build solid relationships and challenge clients to think beyond the obvious to deliver multi-line solutions, will succeed in developing consultative relationships.

And you can’t develop consultative relationships on your own. Many junior fee earners are unaware of the importance of internal peer relationships that extend beyond their immediate team. Those that foster a collaborative approach to problem solving, are more successful.

However, everything has to be based on client evidence and advice. Often described as ‘the customer journey’, understand your end-to-end client feedback to spot the trends of when you are successful and when you are not. Ask clients what they value when advisers try to build relationships with them, and what stands out when people get it wrong – you will find the feedback refreshingly honest and down to earth. Whether this information comes from your brand surveys, or client feedback across various channels, its very important. This forms the basis for your future leaders development and what they should prioritise in their development. Celebrate the good stuff and fix the bad.

The most debilitating aspect is fear of the unknown creating inertia. Hearing how others faced their fears and insecurities will dispel the myths as you reframe fears into opportunities. By countering excuses so people know what IS and IS NOT expected of them, you will inspire and challenge your future leaders to think differently. Likewise, understanding the ‘mood music’ among your troops is core to this. I often hear things like: “I never realised how important BD was, until I was looking for promotion” or“I’m unsure how and when to contribute in client meetings or when/ how I’m allowed to develop my own relationships when there’s so much client delivery to see to”. Know what the mood music is among your troops, so you can say – we listened and we did something about it!

TOP TIP: All future leaders need to artfully balance IQ with EQ (eg speak their clients language) because clients buy for their own reasons (not ours). If you want some good reading on the new psychology of selling, check out Jeb Blount’s book ‘Sales EQ’. The first few chapters are especially good.


image

Want to leave a long lasting and positive legacy on sales and relationships performance with your future leaders? Contact Edler Consulting for an initial conversation about how you can make sales and relationship building ‘business as usual’ and fit for tomorrows world.

Follow my blog on edlerconsulting.com.

Would you like to learn more about my Marketing & Sales Practice?

Is chasing the £££ enough to make your head explode? How to generate revenue from a marketing campaign

Embed from Getty Images

Working in professional services as a modern marketer is, without doubt, a tough but hugely rewarding experience. But the holy grail for all marketer’s is a campaign that can easily point to revenue generation as return on investment (ROI).

So, to get us ‘in the mood’, consider this scenario…

You have a marketing campaign topic and a keen partner. Your campaign strategy is to, not just ‘do’ another profiling approach. You want the campaign ROI to really pack a punch and deliver commercial outcomes.

  • You know the job titles for whom the campaign is aimed at
  • You’ve researched to ensure the report point of view is differentiated from your competition
  • You will be ‘digital’ in your campaign and (amongst other digital elements) include social media ‘paid for’ to generate leads

It took months, but the campaign elements are nearly ready. The launch event is in 6 weeks and you’re still chasing for the target list…

Wind forward 6 months and your boss asks for the campaign ROI. You’ve got heaps of really good digital click through stats. But as for leads and even direct revenue linked to the campaign, it’s a bit thin on the ground.

——————————————————–

I see this all too often: right intentions, wrong execution. So where to start really driving commercial ROI? Here’s my top 10 steps to consider, when in pursuit of ROI heaven:

What are you selling and where?

1. How much of an impact does this campaign have on the market and how long will it last? Is it a ‘flash in the pan’ topic or is it a significant market disruption theme where you need to build a multi-year/ multi-channeled campaign? What other campaigns does this connect to (and is there too much ‘investment’ in this theme)?

2. Is the related client solution interesting, differentiated, value driven and cross line of service (xLoS) or does it support cross-selling?

3. How will you get xLoS teams to collaborate and be well versed in positioning the solution correctly? How many experts do you have that can sell the solution?

4. What are the sales channels you need to consider eg direct and/ or indirect? How will you balance push versus pull sales and marketing activity?

5.  Is your leadership clear on the marketing budget investment, compared to the desired revenue outcome in years 1, 2 etc? How will campaign progress be demonstrated to the leadership in commercial terms, not just by you but the experts in the business as well?

To whom and how are you selling it?

6. Are there current ‘trophy-client’ examples of what a good solution looks like for this campaign? How many credentials of this nature exist, is it 1 or 100? Are there any particular sectors your credentials are strongest in? Do you understand the typical revenue/ profitability profile these trophy-clients generate and do you understand the ‘value’ each client has gained as a result?

7. Have you clearly defined the ideal client profile, eg size, location, specialism, sector, stage of business life-cycle? Do you need to tailor the campaign to different job titles, sectors and locations? Who will you test your sales materials on before taking more widely? What will the sales micro commitments be, that accompany your marketing campaign elements?

8. Have you mapped out your target list up front, defining existing clients (and even prospective)? Is your target list in CRM and have the missing job titles/ contacts/ target companies been added? Do you have enough targets for the campaign elements, or should you change the client facing activities to reflect a larger/smaller target audience?

9. Is the xLoS pricing model clearly thought out? How much ‘investment’ is the firm prepared to make with new clients? Do you need example proposal materials and do you need to run pitch rehearsals?

10. Have you agreed how pipeline will be managed and the different sales tools that people need (both internal and external)? What are the client specific, even team on team, activities that will help progress hot opportunities? How will CRM record meetings, leads, opportunities, sales etc?

Does this all sound familiar? Probably, it’s more of a ‘go to market strategy’, but I’m a firm believer in being thorough when it’s needed.

If it’s just a profiling campaign, that’s ok, there’s certainly a place for it in all marketing strategies. You just need to make sure you’ve got the right balance between profiling, and genuine revenue generating marketing campaigns.

After all, effort certainly does equal reward, if you have the right solution, campaign and team to make it work – it has every opportunity to generate significant revenue driven ROI.


See my blog for further reading on campaigns that start with sales ROI

image

Want to find out more on how this can help your business grow? Contact Edler Consulting for an initial chat about what’s holding your marketing campaigns back from real ROI. I’m available for one to one coaching, team development and management consultancy across sales and marketing disciplines.

Follow my blog on edlerconsulting.com.

Would you like to learn more about my Marketing & Sales Practice?